Lee Walker walks us through his ‘Live & Direct’ Mix
Lee Walker’s swift, yet assured ascension up the ranks of the DJ leagues is the result of his staunch dedication to music. Lee’s work ethic has always been high, ever since he started playing around with music production he knew he’d found his calling which spurned him on to keep working, learning and refining. Fuelled by a deep-set love for electronic music, and the grafter mentality instilled in him through growing up in the north-east of the UK, Lee is riding the crest of a wave and working hard to make sure he stays there, perfectly balanced yet moving ever forward.
Over 10 years since he started playing around with electronic sounds in his bedroom at home, Lee Walker is living out his dreams, performing at some of the world’s best-known clubs and rubbing shoulders with his idols in the process. 2015 was the year Lee Walker was thrust into the limelight. His cheeky edit of DJ Deeon’s ‘Freak Like Me’ hit Soundcloud, and before he knew it Marco Carola had spun it in Ibiza and over a million YouTube views came flooding in. Far from being a one-hit wonder though, Lee has been hard at work in the studio ever since – utilising that first burst of fame as the catalyst for a slew of releases with respected labels. EPs with the mighty Defected, Nurvous, No Idea’s Original and Wiggle, together with solo tracks and remixes on Hotflush, Circus Recordings and Hot Creations, have demonstrated Lee’s production prowess, delivering one slinky club-ready cut after another – keeping it groovy, with hypnotic rhythms and funky basslines designed to fill the dance floor with energy.
After well received re-launch late in 2016, Cr2’s revitalised Live & Direct mix series has its second edition, this time compiled by Lee Walker, we sat down with him to get him to walk us through why he picked each of the tracks on the mix.
Seb Zito – Never (Enzo Siragusa & Rich NxT Enrichment)
This track for me is what personifies Fuse and everything that’s cool about then, which in turn really compliments this section of the mix. It’s mellow but driven, has some really simple but cool drum work in it and that bottom end catches people out in a club every time.
East End Dubs – Little Helper 70-1
This label and East End Dubs probably made up a solid 60% of everything I was playing when I was playing these kinds of warm up slots at Solar Knights, there aren’t many producers who have a better ear for a groove than EED and there really aren’t many better labels for this kind of stripped back, dubby tech house sound than Little Helpers, I really love the way this track has kind of nothing but so much going on, it just goes to show that less is more and the way you utilise those elements are what’s going to make your track as good as it is, I could listen to it on a loop for hours.
Lee Walker – Ambiguity
This was one I thought perfect rounded off this section, it’s a blend of everything from that era of my career playing in dark rooms and small basements, you’ve got the locking together of the grooves, very dubby and deep with a load of drive behind it. It’s a track made to encapsulate the entirely of this 4 track section in one track, rather than something just “fitting”.
Moonbeam & Illuminant For Fancy – No Regrets Feat. Pryce Oliver
Every month/other month I used to play upstairs at *riffraff which is based in Medicine Bar in my hometown of Middlesbrough and is turning 14 this year. This was exactly the kind of music I was playing. In the upstairs room you don’t want to get people too excited by playing absolute bangers, you just played good music, slightly chilled with a good groove to it, just to keep people moving their hips, this track is a perfect example of it, a lot of nice riffs and music elements, strong drums and bass groove and the vocal is brilliant.
Lee Walker – Back Down To Earth
This tops off the same section that No Regrets falls within. It’s the kind of thing I’d play in the last 30 mins of my slot as the night was wearing on a bit and people were all grooved out. Still a lot of groove to it, but it’s a lot more focused on hitting people with those drops after the breaks. The track itself I tried to create something that sounded pretty ancient, not 1930s smoky Jazz bar ancient, but early to mid 90s ancient (weird that we are saying that’s ancient now). A bit of amen break, crushed drums, simple and 90s-esque synths all round off something I’m really happy with.
Pirupa – Guarda
Sunshine and a bottle of Sol as shadows start to cast over the Benimussa Hills in a Seal Pit that’s been retrofitted into a dance music arena. Is there a track that captures sunny, driven tech house as well as this one does? A low passed bass guitar, a horn section and classic, techy drums make this the quintessential outdoor Ibiza track for me. It’s not by any means a new track, and Pirupa has been smashing it out of the park since then, but this is my favourite one of his alongside his Drugs & Choices remix and I played it quite a lot at The Zoo Project last summer as it always perfectly fits the vibe. This section is supposed to represent the type of tech house you’d hear outside in the sunshine, and this track is this sections centrepiece.
Hermanez – Soms
One of my favourite tracks ever. Topped the Beatport charts when it came out in 2010 and continues to be a perfectly relevant track to pretty much ever niche and nuance house and techno has moved through since it’s birth into the world. It also fits really well at the end of this section as we roll into the next one, which is quite a jump!
Alan Fitzpatrick – Eternia
Epic, epic, epic. This is THE perfect track to play at 4:30am, be it in a tight basement, or a 1000 person room, the vibe it sets at that point in the night is genuinely nothing short of spectacular. People’s hands go up as soon as the Juno pad comes in, the whimsy in the background vocal as well as the heavy drums keep the track driving forward beautifully, and don’t get me started on the breakdowns. Brilliant track, truly brilliant.
Lee Walker – Break The System
This is a…Pretty weird track. I made this because I wanted it to do something pretty unexpected, and be the perfect jigsaw piece when jumping down a little in energy to something a bit less heavy, or as a “system breaker”, definitely does it’s job. I hate talking about my own music and even saying that I like it, people seem to perceive pride in oneself as arrogance, but so fuck, tracks wicked. Does exactly what I wanted it to do, you’ve got the breaky intro which immediately steps you down from the heftiness of the previous track and allows you to slide into something a bit more groove or melody based if you so wish with the crowd not thinking “Jesus Christ where’s all the energy gone?” Serves it’s purpose and serves it well, really happy with this one.
Rob Cockerton & Mark Fanciulli – Patterns
Utterly ridiculous. One of my favourite dance tracks ever made. Rolls around a really simple riff driving forward and opening up throughout the tracks, also utilises that classic “Yeah, WOO!” sample from Rob Base – It Takes Two (although the first instance of the sample was in Cookie Crew – Females). It has this massive long break in the middle that teases people for around 2 minutes, fake dropping, snare rolling and constantly building, the pay off from that break is IMMENSE. Bravo Cockerton & Fanciulli.
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